Wet paint is bubbling


Old 10-03-09, 06:46 PM
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Wet paint is bubbling

We are repainting our family room ceiling, using a standard latex ceiling paint. This ceiling was repaired (drywall patch, compounded edges) years and years ago due to water damage. It has been repainted twice since then - once immediatly after the damage was repaired and then again several years later. We are now repainting it again because we got Christmas tree sap on it.

Within minutes of applying the new paint, it bubbled just in the area that had been repaired long ago. This isn't where the sap is. So we are baffled. The area is dry. The earlier paint jobs did not do this, they covered nicely. Any suggestions as to what is happening with this paint, and more importantly, what we should do to get rid of these bubbles?
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Old 10-03-09, 06:57 PM
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If you are sure that there is no moisture in the ceiling, skim coat the area with some compound. I prefer setting compound. That way, you can paint the same day.
Old 10-03-09, 07:07 PM
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Is there texture on the ceiling?

Often degraded texture will soften, bubble and peel when it gets wet from fresh paint.

Unfortunately the only fix is to scrape off anything that's loose, repair as needed, prime and paint.
Old 10-04-09, 12:31 PM
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Thanks for the comments. I am not sure what we are going to do with this. It isn't a texturized ceiling - just flat. My concern is that if we sand the bubbles, we will be left with divets and compounding over loose spots just seems to beg for the compound to pop like a nail pop. I will report back in later.
Old 10-10-09, 05:32 PM
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When paint dries, it shrinks. This shrinking exerts a pulling force on the surface beneath it. If the is previoius paint is not adhering very well to the surface beneath it, the new paint will pull up blisters from the paint beneath.

I have seen this situation before. The blisters could be "old" blisters or they may be new.

Sometimes blisters will occur if you prime and recoat drywall compound too quickly without allowing for good drying between coats.

Blisters can also be the result of "out gassing" of a chemical setting drywall compound.

The blisters can also be a result of poor penetration of the previous primer into the drywall compound (and sometimes weak drywall compound), which can’t handle the force of the new paint shrinking over it.

These blisters will sometimes “lay back down” and not be noticeable. (I don't know the physics behind this - but I have seen this happen a number of times).

When you paint this ceiling years later, the paint dries and pulls the blisters back up, since they were just laying down on the surface without any adhesion to it.

The blisters may lay back down with time (only to pop back up next time you paint).

If the blisters have not laid back down, and you can clearly see where they are, you should cut them out with a spackle knife (don't sand them out), and skim over the voids to smooth it all out.

Prime and paint.
Old 10-12-09, 08:02 AM
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This happened to me recently while painting some walls in our house. There were some spots that had tiny holes in the drywall. I figured I should just lay some thick paint in the holes to fill them up. However, as the paint dried, all those holes made bubbles.
Old 10-12-09, 01:27 PM
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I have had paint bubble up when new paint was applied. It has been my experience that the original paint never properly adhered. The wall will need to be scraped of all loose paint, sand and spackle as needed, then primed for a good start.
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